PovNet’s Advocapedia: The Forefront of Online Anti-Poverty Advocacy

Since December, I have been a VCN youth intern at PovNet, a Canadian non-profit organization that helps anti-poverty advocacy groups connect online. PovNet hosts a website (povnet.org), email lists for advocates, and free online advocacy training courses (povnetu.org). PovNet is currently gearing up to launch Advocapedia, a community-driven wiki site for anti-poverty advocates in BC.

The Lowdown on Wikis

Wikis– web applications that allow collaborative modification, extension or deletion of its content and structure–come in all shapes and sizes. Some wikis, like Wikipedia, are immense in size and global in scope, while others focus on more narrow and specific topics. Advocapedia will focus on issues relevant to anti-poverty advocates, such as BC residential tenancy and welfare law. Like Wikipedia, Advocapedia will be monitored and maintained by its user community.

How Advocapedia Works

Advocapedia will provide a structured space for advocates to share information with one another, while providing the flexibility to modify and edit that information as the policies and laws pertaining to anti-poverty advocacy change. Advocates will be able to share legal decisions, document templates, important reading materials, and more.

Advocapedia is a closed space where advocates can discuss their work with more candour than they would be able to in a public space. For this reason, all Advocapedia members will log-in to the site with a username and password. While all Advocapedia members will have the opportunity to make contributions, certain social justice lawyers and senior advocates will have a relatively greater ability to edit and update the site to ensure the information provided is clear and accurate.

Towards the Future

There is little doubt that Advocapedia could become an indispensable tool for anti-poverty advocates in BC. Though the site is still in its infancy, it is beautifully designed, easy to navigate, and brimming with useful information. I take great pride in contribute to the site’s development and am eager to see what the future holds for Advocapedia. The site is currently undergoing beta-testing by a small group of advocates and will continue to be tested throughout 2015.